HENDERSON, Tenn. – The Park University softball team fell to third-ranked Columbia College in the first game of the American Midwest Conference Championship at the final site in Henderson, Tennessee. The Pirates (22-18) lost to the Cougars (41-5) 9-5.  

In the top of the first inning, Mallory Land hit a sac fly, to knock in Scotlin Hurley to score the first run of the game. In the bottom of the inning, Carly Spalding scored on a pass ball by the Pirates' defense. At the end of the first inning, the Pirates and Cougars were tied 1-1.

The bottom of the second inning, the Cougars' Spalding hit a single to right-field, to knock in Julianna Waldner. On the same play Rachel Sullivan scored off of the throw. Theresa Decosty came up to bat, hitting a single to left-field to bring in Spalding. Then, Molly Carter hit a homerun on a 1-0 count over the center-field fence. At the end of the inning, Columbia led Park 5-1. The bottom of the third inning, Olivia Densow hit a single to center-field, for Samantha Myers to score for the Cougars' offense. Heading into the top of the fourth inning, Columbia led Park 6-1.

Sarah Rothe hit a homerun over the left-field fence, on 0-2 count, for the Pirates to trail the Cougars 6-2, in the top of the fourth inning. Justice Scales hit a single, to bring in Hailey Costello. Heading into the bottom of the inning, Park was down 6-3 to Columbia. The Cougars' Decosty grounded out to second but Spalding was able to score for Columbia's offense. Heading into the top of the fifth inning, the Cougars led the Pirates 7-3. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Columbia scored two more runs to lead Park 9-3.

Scales hit single to center-field, in the top of the sixth inning, to knock in Rothe. Brooke Kunkel came up to bat for Park, hitting a single to left-field, and bringing in Costello. Heading into the bottom of the inning, the Pirates trailed the Cougars 9-5.

Shelby Bendure was in the circle for the Pirates' defense, pitching 6.0 innings, giving up 13 hits, eight earned runs and getting the loss in the circle. The Cougars' Paxton Welch was in the circle, pitching 5.1 innings, striking out four batters, giving up six hits and four earned runs. Her teammate, Kaitlyn Nottelmann, came in to pitch for 1.2 innings, striking out one batter and giving up two hits. Paxton got the win in the circle, for the Cougars' defense.

The Pirates will face the loser of the Williams Baptist College/Freed-Hardeman University game in the elimination contest on Thursday at 5 p.m. There will be live stats and live video available through www.parkathletics.tv